Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Hand of God?
CNN) -- New photographs released by NASA have captured images of a vast stellar formation resembling a human hand reaching across space.
NASA's Chandra Observatory captured this hand-shaped image of an X-ray nebula.
The image, taken by NASA's space-based Chandra Observatory telescope, shows an X-ray nebula 150 light years across.
It shows what appear to be ghostly blue fingers -- thumb and pinky clearly discernible from index, ring and middle digits -- reaching into a sparkling cloud of fiery red.
NASA says the display is caused by a young and powerful pulsar, known by the rather prosaic name of PSR B1509-58.
"The pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing energy out into the space around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that resembles a large cosmic hand," NASA says.
The space agency says B1509 -- created by a collapsed star -- is one of the most powerful electromagnetic generators in the Galaxy. The nebula is formed by a torrent of electrons and ions emitted by the 1,700-year-old phenomenon.
The finger-like structures are apparently caused by "energizing knots of material in a neighboring gas cloud," NASA says.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 12:17 PM